Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina: New health sector enhancement project launched

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Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, July 13, 2005 - The Health Sector Enhancement Project for Bosnia and Herzegovina, supported by a World Bank credit worth USD 17 million and a Loan from the Council of Europe Development Bank in the amount of USD 14 million, was officially launched today in a workshop in Mostar.

The project aims at enhancing health system efficiency through restructuring and strengthening of primary health care in accordance with the family medicine model, and improving health care sector management capacity. The project also aims at strengthening the policy making process through the development and implementation of a system for monitoring, and evaluating health sector performance. The implementation of this project is expected to take five year.

The July 12-13 project launch workshop brought together Entity Ministers and Assistant Ministers, Cantonal Ministers of Health, Assistant Minister of Civil Affairs, Directors of Entity and Cantonal Health Insurance Funds, Directors of Health Centers, faculty members of the Universities of Banja Luka, Mostar, Sarajevo, and Tuzla, representatives from Public Health Institutes, as well as representatives from the World Bank. The workshop reviewed in detail project components, implementation strategy and schedules, the phases and coordination of the various project elements and the specific role of each agency in the implementation process

Since 1996 Bosnia and Herzegovina has made substantive progress in reconstructing and improving its health sector. Yet despite these improvements, the burden of disease in the country remains high. The epidemiological profile is largely dominated by non-communicable diseases, with 50 percent of deaths being attributed to cardio-vascular disorders and about 20 percent to cancers. BiH rate of heart attacks and similar diseases (160 per 100,000) is the highest in the Southeast Europe. Road accidents, injuries (including from landmines) and suicides are at high levels and on the rise.

"This is the fifth World Bank-financed project supporting reconstruction and development of the health sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1996," stated Federation Minister of Health Tomo Lucic. "The previous four projects have provided funds for reconstruction and equipping of health facilities, strengthening of health institutions, as well as the introduction of the system of family medicine."

The Bank has acquired considerable cross-sectoral knowledge of the country through implementation of adjustment and investment operations and economic sector work and especially through the implementation of health projects. Therefore, the Bank is well placed to build upon this knowledge base in this operation that draws on evidence and lessons learned in the country, region and sub-region, and international best practice.

Since 1996, the World Bank in Bosnia and Herzegovina has committed a total of US$1,101.3 million through 51 projects. The new World Bank Assistance Program for Bosnia and Herzegovina (CAS) will annually provide between USD 30 and 40 million in support to the implementation of BiH's Medium-Term development Strategy in the period between 2005-07.

Contacts:

In Sarajevo, Srecko Latal ++387-33-440-293, slatal@worldbank.org

In Washington, Miriam Van Dyck, (202) 458-2931, mvandyck@worldbank.org